Already Been Done Presents: Josiah Gatlyn

By Rob Brink

Josiah Gatlyn believes in God. Deal with it.

Now that we gotten past that, let’s get down to business.

One day, Josiah happened to be near Los Angeles and was lucky enough to have a friend let him into The Berrics. The rest, as they say, is history.

The end.

No really, that was about 18 months ago. And since then, a lot has happened for Josiah. Including the fact that we all know his name and have seen him ride a skateboard.

He’s landed a grip of sponsors (Stereo, RVCA, Theeve, Select, Ashbury), completed a graphic design internship, started his own headwear company (Usko) with his girlfriend, worked on multi-million-dollar yachts and gone from North Carolina to Missouri to Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where he’s currently working, skating, being responsible and seeking the answer to one of life’s biggest mysteries: “Do Monkeys go to heaven?”

I hear you have a legit job in addition to skateboarding?
Yeah, I’m working part time with my friend Josh. His dad owns a boat repair business. We work on yachts and stuff.

Do a lot of super rich people come in?
Dude, it’s crazy. We’re working on a 31-million-dollar boat right now.

Jesus. Ever worked on a celebrity’s boat?
Actually, Josh’s dad knows Johnny Depp. I guess he’s from Fort Lauderdale or something. We were gonna go look at his boat one day but it never happened.

What’s the sickest Yacht set up you’ve ever seen?
This is the only boat I’ve worked on so far, but it’s a triple-decker with a basement and a Jacuzzi. It’s pretty much like a huge house. It’s absolutely crazy how a yacht works. There’s a crew of like eight people that live on the boat. The owners probably spend more than $100,000 a day on that alone.

So if you own a yacht like that, you’re spending a million dollars every few months just to have it?
Yeah. We’ve been working on this one for at least four months and I haven’t seen them go out on the boat once. It’s crazy.

Plus they have to pay for it to be docked, right?
Yeah and that’s probably the most expensive. If I had that much money, there’s no way I would waste it on just a boat.


Photo: Josh Friedberg

So most of the skate world came to know you through The Berrics, but I don’t think they all know how that started.
Around May of ’09, I sent my footage in for the Bang Yo’ Self contest and I got second place. At the time I was working in Joplin, Missouri for a skatepark company called American Ramp Company and me and my friend were doing this tour where we’d go around and film at all the parks we built. They were gonna put it all together as a promotional video.

I was near LA on that tour and contacted Jason King to maybe go to The Berrics and he let me and my friend Shawn in for a couple hours. I didn’t think anything of it. We were about to leave and Eduardo Craig came out and started filming some stuff. Long story short, I did a Text Yo’ Self with him, started filming a few tricks and developed a relationship with the people at The Berrics and everything kind of fell together.

Did life change instantly?
Yeah, it was really crazy. The day I filmed the Bangin’ I couldn’t believe that it actually happened. I thought I was only gonna film one or two tricks. The blunt fakie I did on that wall was the first trick that I filmed. I was super nervous.

I guess Berra got really stoked and was like, “Hey, do you wanna film a First Try Friday?” So I did that then went back on tour with the ramp company.

Shortly after, I got a call from Berra. He wanted me to come back and film a Recruit and said that he was talking to Stereo and they were interested in putting me on the team.

Within a week I went from being in this really small town in Missouri, working at a skatepark company, to living in LA and skating for Stereo. It’s kind of crazy.

Oddly enough, right before I moved to Joplin I was living in North Carolina in the middle of nowhere—like, literally in the woods with my parents. There was a good month and a half where I didn’t even pick up my board because I had nowhere to skate.

And now you’re part of the catalyst for ABD, huh?
Yeah, actually it was on Twitter. I was randomly like, “Man I miss 411 so much. I wish it would come back.”

And I think Joe Krolick retweeted it to the other dudes who used to work for 411. Then Josh Friedberg said something like, “Yeah dude I’m down!” or something.

So I emailed him, like, “Dude, I really hope you bring it back. I would do anything for you to bring 411 back.”

This was before Josh Friedberg won the Nikon contest. I really wanted to help him win and he told me that if he won he would bring 411 back. So I got really hyped and made a YouTube video and posted it to my account and a bunch of kids voted. Josh got super hyped and contacted Berra, who posted it on The Berrics. Then Bam Margera Tweeted my YouTube video and it just spread. We got tons of skateboarders to vote and that’s how he won.

So here we are almost a year later and you have the first part in ABD …
It’s such an honor, man. So hyped to be a part of 411. You know kids these days wake up and watch The Berrics? When I was 13 and growing up I woke up every day and put in a 411 VHS tape and went out skating. I’m really, really hyped on this.

So are we. You used to have a pet monkey?
Yeah, when I was really young—maybe nine years old, my brother was super hyped on monkeys and somehow convinced my parents to buy one. There was this place in North Carolina … this dude literally owned a monkey ranch in his backyard—sketchiest thing ever. Back then it seemed normal, but now, thinking about it, what the heck? We bought a monkey from some dude that lived in a trailer.

We had him for like two years, it was rad. We had a pond at our house and he would go and swim in it and stuff but he ended up biting a neighbor and the neighbor threatened to sue us. At the time they had just made it illegal to own a wild species in Goldsboro, North Carolina, so my dad called all these different places trying to give it away—zoos, theme parks, anything—but no one would take it because it was such a wild monkey.

Eventually, we had to put it down, which sucked really bad. I miss him, but it was fun while it lasted.

I wonder how a dude like that gets into the monkey selling business. Did he have a lot of monkeys?
At least 10 or 15.

So it was a full-on monkey farm?
I guess. He probably bought a male and a female and just started breeding ‘em. I doubt he’s still in business now, but it was crazy.

So you have the yacht gig and you had a graphic design internship recently. I think it’s smart that you have a backup plan instead of just relying on skating carrying you through life.
At the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do. You’re a human being. Just because a lot of people know who you are doesn’t mean that you deserve … I don’t necessarily feel that I’m entitled to make a lot of money, but I would like to skate everyday and work really hard to be able to have skateboarding to make a living. But right now it’s not that way. All I can do is skate and film and try my best and see what happens.

I was in California for eight months and it was really hard for me to live. I was couch surfing everywhere and just barely getting by. I didn’t have a car or anything. I kind of felt that if I moved to where some of my family, my girlfriend and her family lives that I’d get more stuff done, rather than being out there and just hoping things work out.

I don’t plan on being out here for the rest of my life. I really wanna move back out there, but for now, I’m just trying to get as much stuff done as possible.

Where’d the name for your headwear company, Usko, come from?
It’s the Finnish word for “faith.” I thought it sounded cool.

Are you Finnish?
No, I’m actually not. I kind of like the culture. It’s pretty cool.

Yeah, they have a pretty good quality of life over there.
That place is awesome. It’s so much different out there. They’re all about family and about hanging out and being friends. There’re not rude people.

They’re healthier too.
Yeah, I didn’t see one fat person while I was out there.


Front shuv. Photo: Jon Spitzer

You know, I tried to add you on Facebook the other day before we did this, and you had too many friend requests so it wouldn’t let me.
Yeah. It caps you at 5000 friends. I don’t know why.

At least people like you.
Yeah. Not everybody.

Actually, the other day I was on the Slap forum and I saw this thread about you kickflipping a basketball net …
Yeah, I’ve seen it.

Good. So a thread about you kickflipping a basketball net spirals into a huge discussion on you being a “religious” skateboarder, which I didn’t know about you.
Yeah. I don’t think of it as a bunch of rules. I don’t view God as looking down like, “Hey, if you don’t do this, you’re going to hell.”

I feel God gives us freedom to choose to do whatever we want and I think everything happens for a reason. There’s a lot to get into, I don’t know how to necessarily explain it, but I do believe in Jesus.

As do many other well-respected skateboarders—Paul Rodriguez, for example. I think when a lot of people hear that someone’s religious; they automatically assume that person is an over-the-top weirdo. But you don’t have eight wives; you’re not preaching to me or sacrificing animals …
I’ve gone to church my whole life and if anybody should hate Christianity, or hate God, I would be the one because I’ve seen so much gnarly stuff in the Church. But I don’t hate anybody because we’re all humans, you know? I feel like I’m blessed to even be in this situation that I’m in right now.

What’s some stuff you’ve seen?
Just super prideful people that think they’re high and mighty because of what they believe in. There’s literally Christians who think they don’t do anything wrong. They think like, “I never sin” and that it’s possible to be perfect.

In my lifetime I’ve never once thought it was possible to be perfect. You’re always gonna make mistakes and you gotta try to learn from them. When a lot of people see something they think is “wrong,” and freak out or are so negative that other people don’t want anything to do with them. They point fingers and get so mean about it. That’s not how you deal with it, you know?

The psychology of covering up your own flaws by pointing out other people’s … look at Tiger Woods. Everyone was going berserk because he cheated on his wife, but I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t cheated at some point in their lives.
It’s funny that you say that. I thought the exact same thing when all that controversy came out. It’s so dumb. A famous person can do one thing wrong and he’s like the worst dude ever, but there’s people out there doing that everyday. It’s crazy.

So, before we wrap this up then, do monkeys go to Heaven?
[Laughter] I haven’t seen anything in the Bible about that at all so I have no idea.

Haven’t you heard that Pixies song called “Monkey’s Gone to Heaven”?
Oh really? That’s funny. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it.

You should look it up sometime.
I suppose I should.




35 Comments

  1. Posted January 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    The skating was amazing and the interview was inspiring! I am also a Christian skateboarder and I think that it’s great what Josiah has been doing for skateboarding, especially helping bring 411 back!

  2. Posted January 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Великолепно!

  3. zip
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    This kid is the reason all the kids are doing that thing with their back leg when they 360 flip.

    It the worst thing to happen to skating since that truck hit Cardiel.

  4. Posted January 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Great interview! I love that this site is up and running.

  5. the real zip
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    zip, you’re an idiot. He did not do one tre flip like you mentioned in none of the clips above.
    That footage was gnarly and the interview was really well done. So hyped on the site!

  6. he still
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    sucks

  7. dave
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    STOP DOING YO FLIPS

  8. RUALOZODIARZ
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    Flip however the hell you want to flip. Who are you dicks telling him how to flip?

    And ironically he doesn’t even Yo flip. At least that ender didn’t have a whiff of Yo to it in my opinion.

  9. Posted January 5, 2011 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Great interview!

  10. drrio
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Looks like a bunch of kids are pretty jealous, there is nothing to hate on this. Dude worked really hard to get to where he’s at and isn’t even getting what he deserves.

    Get over yourselves.

  11. Posted January 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Hell yeah!

  12. Posted January 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Dammmm the bigflip and ender were ridiculous!

  13. josh reeher
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Woot! thats me in the second clip at citybank with my crew ! Purple shirt and backpack short hair, thats me (:
    Gnarly clip, sexier in person.
    Joshynoodles.

  14. Posted January 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Josiah kills it there is no doubt in my mind that he will make it far in skating keep killing it dude!!

  15. Unknown
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Reppin that Doublewide!!! Hell yeah!

  16. Barry
    Posted January 6, 2011 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    Super good skater and an interesting interview.
    Thank you!

  17. abd
    Posted January 6, 2011 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    this song is abu

  18. Posted January 6, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    josiah is just one amazing skater and
    the intro describes everything perfectly!

    good job, from the netherlands!

  19. Mikael
    Posted January 6, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Amazing video! Well done Josiah! <3

  20. Posted January 7, 2011 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    wow that gave me a chill when I realized that this song was used (different version maybe?) in an old 411 I used to watch on the daily like 8 years ago.

  21. Posted January 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Hah, I remember that song you used to the clip. It is from of my most loved 411VMs…it is from an Amateur Chaos Section where you guys combined to V.A.S.T. Songs.

    You see, I really, really like 411VM :D

  22. Joni Peltola
    Posted January 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Hey Josiah, Im from Finland and im sorry about to say this… Finland isn’t that good place to live that you might think and we have a lots of rude people here. But yes… This is the best place to live.
    You are great skateboarder and I love your style. You’ve inspired me alot! Hope you make more videos and do interviews like this.
    Nice work!

    ps. sorry my bad english=)

    -Joni

  23. Guy
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Life is all about God, Jesus, God, Christ, Money, and Je$u$… Skateboarding should be your religion. Get with reality fools. Gonz Bless

  24. sfgiant
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Please interview the Flipmode crew of NYC. My buddy just linked me their new video Caviar and its giving me some real heavy oldman flashbacks.

  25. burrito
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    good stuff

  26. dirtyliving
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    AYYY KILLIN FL

  27. Ignatius
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    wow great work! the video gave me the shivers. love the way you skate Gatlyn! its all out, and you let your style flow free instead of containing it. awesome interview as well. your a great guy Josiah, I can tell you have substance unlike many skaters.. and it shows in all your crafts. you have my appreciation.

    God bless,

    Iggy

  28. Ishod
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    alright I get it, you’re amazing at big flips.

  29. neilblender
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    fucking little bitches. how the fuck can you hate on this kid? seems humble, appreciative, and has a good attitude. who gives a fuck what he believes in or how he tre flips. some fucking jock shit, judging this dude and giving him shit for the most meaningless bullshit. dude rips, has solid style, and seems much more adjusted that most of the young ass ams out there.
    grow up pussies, and go find something worth investing your hate into. bitches.

  30. Connor
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Josiah is my favorite skater. He RIPS and he loves CHRIST. Best 2 things EVER.

  31. wut
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    is you really neil blender?

  32. MIKE DEFARLO
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    TO: JOSIAH GATLYN bro its me mike defarlo the one you met on top of the tranny at west boynton park and you said u visited like 2 days or somethings. but yeah man just lettin everyone know that gods blessed u with a gift man and it would be awsome for you to reply back so i can here from an inspiration.

  33. SPACEPILGRIM
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    i have a friend named christian, but im not friends with christians. sorry boo boo. not stereo status…. but we already knew that.

  34. lame
    Posted January 25, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    That song was used in 411 #42 for the amateur chaos section along with another V.A.S.T Song that was only violins and became my favorite song for years to come. I knew that Issue by heart!! It’s really moving to see you guys coming back!!

    However, there is one remark I would like to make regarding Berra “talking” to Stereo and getting Josiah on it. You people now, that both Berra and Jason Lee are Scientologists, right? I wonder how a devoted christian (and one of the very few intelligent and insightful ones I’ve come across) is dealing with his two main supporters being members of modern day’s biggest sect?

  35. Bobby Chickering
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    josiah i look up to u so much man thanks for bein out there for wat u love maybe i could be like u one day

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